The Eleventh Scene

A Slow Fashion Silk Workshop on West Lake in Hangzhou, China

January 2020 - June 2020
Yr 3 BSc Architecture
The Bartlett, UCL

Though the relationship between the environment and silk production in Hangzhou was once symbiotic, mass industralisation in the past 40 years has led to silk factories being detrimental to rural Hangzhou. The project is sited in the area most affected, West Lake, a landscape known for its stunning views named the “Ten Scenes”.

As silk workers begin to lose their jobs due to technological advancements in the industry, this project aims to offer them a better environment to preserve their craft. In so doing, the building pioneers the Slow Fashion Movement whilst “giving back” to West Lake when historically the industry has only taken away.

During autumn and spring, silkworms live upon a robotically 3D-printed voronoi (a pattern spun by silkworms) canopy optimised for cocoon production. This biodegrades over winter and summer. The outdoor cocoons mimic clouds floating between the workshop spaces, inspired by one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake.

The architectural composition stems from the Ten Scenes and the atmospheric by-products of silk production, many of which relate to water. The building produces clouds from silk and steam, mimics the melting of snow and uses water as a reflector, lighting instrument and datum shifter. When viewed from the lake, these elements combine to create the illusion of a surreal mountain range floating  amidst the sky.

This is the Eleventh Scene.